Payroll clerk

What they do

Payroll clerks calculate, prepare and distribute wages, taking into account overtime and deductions such as tax, Medicare levy, health insurance payments and superannuation. They receive and record invoices and arrange payments, prepare and send invoices to debtors, check and process loan applications, calculate and distribute wages and salaries, prepare reports of accounting activities and reconcile accounts. Payroll clerks work in all kinds of organisations around the state, from large city-based companies, to regional and remote businesses.

Working conditions

Payroll clerks generally work in office environments and work during standard business hours. Part-time work is very common within this profession. The work of payroll clerks is usually supervised by accountants and their client contact is usually by telephone. In larger organisations, the duties of a payroll clerk may be divided among a number of different positions.

Payroll clerks are employed in a wide range of industries including finance, property, business services, manufacturing and government.

Tools and technologies

Payroll clerks may use traditional record keeping methods such as ledger books and filing systems, or they may use computers and data management programs. As such, payroll clerks need to be familiar with a range of software packages, from word and data processors through to accounting programs. They may also spend a significant amount of their time on the phone, and may also need to be familiar with other office equipment such as photocopiers and fax machines.

How do I become one?

Education and training

It is possible to work as a payroll clerk without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in accounts administration or a related field

The Certificate III in Accounts Administration and Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisation throughout Western Australia

Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.

You can also undertake a traineeship in accounts administration (level 3) or accounting and bookkeeping (level 4). The traineeships usually take 12 months to complete.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.